Newspapers and Magazines:
World Newspapers online (English versions available). Ask your students to bring the world into your classroom, not just a small
piece of it.
The New York Times If nothing else, subscribe to the Sunday edition or the online edition. In particular, the "Book Review,"
"Week in Review," and the "Times Magazine" are full of rich ToK material for classroom debate.
Time Magazine Yes, it has a liberal bias, doesn't all thought-provoking journalism? When did liberal get to be a dirty word?
Books: If you can purchase only one text, buy Richard van de Lagemaat's Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. He just published
a new revision that reflects the 2015 ToK changes to the program
If you can purchase two, include Bryan Magee's The Story of Philosophy. The students love it. I love it. For yourself,
you will want to purchase Reuben Abel's Man is the Measure. It has been the ToK bible.
Abel, R.Man is the Measure.
Adler, Mortimer. The Great Ideas: From the Great Books of Western Civilization
Bronowski, Jacob.The Ascent of Man.
Browne, Neil & Keeley, Stuart. Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking
Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything.
Burke, James. The Day the Universe Changed
Damasio, Antonio B. Descartes Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain.
----------- The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness.
Danto, Arthur C. After the End of Art
Davis, Philip J. and Reuben Hersh. The Mathematical Experience.
Dawkins, Richard. Unweaving the Rainbow.
*** Dawkins, Richard. The Blind Watchmaker.
De Bono, Edward. Lateral Thinking and Six Thinking Hats
Durant, Will and Ariel. The Lessons of History
Edwards, Betty. The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence.
Horgan, John. The End of Science
Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By.
Loewen, James. B. Lies My Teacher Told Me.
Myers, David. Intuition.
Paulos, John Allen. Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences.
Pinker, Steven. How the Mind Works.
—. The Blank Slate
Sacks, OliverThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. A noted neurologist, Oliver Sacks, "describes patients struggling to live
with conditions ranging from Tourette's Syndrome to autism, parkinsonism, musical hallucination, phantom limb syndrome, schizophrenia,
retardation and Alzheimer's disease. As a physician and a writer, Oliver Sacks is concerned above all with the ways in which individuals
survive and adapt to different neurological diseases and conditions, and what this experience can tell us about the human brain and mind."
Sagan, Carl. The Demon-Haunted World.
Schick, Jr. & Vaughn, Lewis. How to Think About Weird Things
Taylor, Mark. The Picture in Question: Mark Tansey and the Ends of Representation Mark Tansey raises an interesting question, "Is it
possible to paint after the end of Painting?" Tansey is the ToK artist of the century, raising questions about perception, illusion, and
metaphorical meaning in art history.
*** van de Lagemaat, Richard. Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005. van de
American Sign Language Browser videos of students signing ASL
Annenberg Site Video on Demand Superior hour-long video discussions of ethics, music, art, language, etc. At no cost to you, if you
have a computer projector, you have instant classroom lesson plans developed by field experts. Under Ethics In America view segment #1
"Do Onto Others."
BBC The British Broadcasting Company is known for its excellence. Specifically visit the site on ethics and religion for thought provoking
The Edge Some of the world's greatest minds ask each other questions.
Evolution PBS website with educational video clips
Forum: The Online Newsletter for Theory of Knowledge Teachers
IBO Workshop Geneva 2004 Nicholas Alchin
L.I.E.S. Language in Extreme Situations informative site on language manipulation/ doublespeak
NPR Archives online An amazing wealth of audio interviews on science, art, history, politics, music, etc. If you have a computer in your
classroom with audio capability, you have a lesson plan. Hurry before it is taken over by the government.
Oliver Sacks Neurologist who examines the nature of human perception.
Orwell Rolls in His Grave watch the online video trailer. Director Robert Kane Pappas’ Orwell Rolls in this Grave asks whether America
has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth. Six Corporations run today's media. Pappas
explores what the media doesn’t talk about: itself.
St. Clare's, Oxford, an independent college, has an excellent Theory of Knowledge website that covers perception, mathematics,
philosophy, religion, world views, and politics.
The Science of Gender and Science Pinker vs. Spelke A Debate
Stephen's Guide to Logical Fallacies
Theory of Knowledge maintained by Richard van de Lagemaat
Educational Videotapes and DVD's
42: A Film by Michael Apted. In 1964 director Michael Aped interviewed a group of seven year old children for the documentary "Seven
Up." He's been back to them every seven years. Now they are 42. This is an interesting study of diverse backgrounds and cultural
American Photography: A Century of Images The third video tape (1960-1999) is excellent for ToK.
Beyond Human: A PBS Home Video. The remarkable synergy between biology and technology is blurring the line between man and
machine. Beyond Human joins inventors, scientists and philosophers for an unprecedented voyage into the future of bioengineering and
robotics. 120 min. Use this in conjunction with either the film Gattaca or a look at the website from M.I.T. on Kismet, the robot with
Doublespeak William Lutz This program looks at how the English language has been inflated and manipulated to distort, obfuscate,
or cover up meaning, or to replace meaning altogether. Illustrations are drawn from ordinary conversation, advertising, the workplace,
and the Iran-contra hearings, which offer a case study of governmental doublespeak. (28 minutes, color)
Evolution: from the 8 hour PBS Special the following three (DVD) 30 min segments spark interesting classroom discussions.
The Mind's Big Bang
What About God?
Frontier House PBS DVD You can "talk" about history or have the students examine what it would be like to go back in time. The online
website (linked here) provides engaging student activities. Frontier House is a six-hour series. Each day before viewing the film
segments, student “pioneers” who were married (in class) or traveling with family decided how they would plot their journey. They planned
the amount of money, supplies, and strategies they would use to survive on the frontier. The students couldn’t wait to get to school each of
the three days. This is exciting immersion history that helps students see the complex roles of economy, agriculture, technology,
education, and family structure in settling the Montana territories. Interestingly many expressed an interest in participating in future
PBS history-based reality experiments. They learned what has been lost and what has been gained in American progress.
The Human Face John Cleese Symmetry in human faces teaches us about perceptual math and its link to emotions and evolution
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth DVD set. A classic study of the need for (and power of) myth in human life. Religious and
economic systems are all based on a metaphor, a belief system, without which man would perish.
KOKO A film about a delightful gorilla who learned to sign-teaches us much about language in general.
A More Perfect Union - America Becomes a Nation ( DVD)
PBS Emmy award -winning dramatization.
A comprehensive recreation of those stirring, heated debates during the sweltering summer of 1787. Filmed on location at
Independence Hall, Williamsburg, Virginia, and other historical sites, it dramatically chronicles how America became a nation
and those underlying principles that guard our freedoms today.
Steven Hawkings's Universe (3 DVD set) PBS Home Video
Television Media: Headlines or Hype? Films for the Humanities and Sciences. 29 min. Faced with declining ratings, increased
competition, and intensified attention to the bottom line, television news organizations have been criticized for turning daily newscasts
into "info-tainment." This program profiles the history of the electronic media, reveals its biases and tendencies toward sensationalism
and exploitation, and highlights the challenges facing networks and local stations in the current, sensation-seeking culture.
Three Mo' Tenors DVD is a wonderful exploration of 400 years of music, three languages, and seven different musical styles including
Opera, Broadway, Jazz, Soul, Spiritual and Gospel. You can "talk" about music or culture, or you can show them music and history
coming alive on stage. The students love it.
Understanding Learning Disabilities: F.A.T. City Workshop (VHS)
How Difficult Can this Be? Richard Lavoie. This is a fascinating program designed to teach educators what it is like to struggle
with cognitive reading and learning obstacles. Most of my IB ToK seniors were amazed at disabilities they were able to identify
Films Sorted by impact, importance (my own assessment based on student essays/ reactions)
*** The History Boys Now on Broadway (6 Tony's including Best Play) but will be released as a film this fall. Its central focus is very
Tok: "What are the ideal ends and means of education?"
Gattaca Important science fiction that prompts students to ask hard questions about genetic manipulation.
Tuesdays With Morrie Philosophical inquiry should center on Socrates' greatest question," How then should we live?"
American History X Profoundly moving examination of the roots of prejudice
Primary Colors A Machiavellian treatise on real politics
Hotel Rwanda (Because we need to foster international understanding and involvement in our students)
KoKo Gorilla sign language can teach us much about our own communication. This is a student favorite.
Pi Math squared, edgy little film . The kids love it!
Frankenstein (modern version with DeNiro) Like Frankenstein "monster" we must ask, "What are the ends of science?"
Indochine Though not a documentary, this is an interesting examination of colonization's effect in Vietnam
Cinema Paradiso A classic film that charts the history of a small Italian village through the lens of a motion picture camera. History
Good Will Hunting. What does it mean to be a genius? You may wish to simply show the clip of the knowledge-value clash between
the college student and the "townie" or several scenes which chronicle the different perceptions of the mature psychologist and the
young working-class genius.
At First Sight Interesting lesson in perception as it relates to the blind vs. the sighted individual. Seeing is not believing. Based on the
true story "To See and Not See" by neurologist Oliver Sacks, first published in The New Yorker and again in An Anthropologist on Mars
Awakenings Another film inspired by the work of neurologist Oliver Sacks. "Awakenings is the remarkable account of a group of patients
who contracted sleeping-sickness during the great epidemic just after World War I. Frozen in a decades-long sleep, these men and
women were given up as hopeless until 1969, when Dr. Sacks gave them the then-new drug L-DOPA, which had an astonishing, explosive,
"awakening" effect. Dr. Sacks recounts the moving case histories of these individuals, the stories of their lives, and the extraordinary
transformations they underwent with treatment. This book, which W. H. Auden called "a masterpiece," is a passionate exploration of the
most general questions of health, disease, suffering, care, and the human condition."